Good Teaching is Still More Important Than Technology

     Lately, we've been spending a lot of time thinking about bringing more technology into our schools.  We say, "This is how students think."  "This is how we teach in the 21st century."  "Our students will be at a disadvantage if they don't use technology in the classroom."

       All of this may be true, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking that newer and better technology is going to make our students smarter or better able to learn.  The single most effective tool that schools have to raise student achievement is the ability of teacher.  Good instruction trumps good technology every time.  The more we learn about educational technology; the more we come to understand that the technology is just a tool for learning--no different from the tools we've had in the past.

     Yesterday we had a meeting with mathematics supervisors in my state and during the meeting we had a Google Hangout discussion panel with three Educational Technology experts from around the country.  We asked them questions about different digital tools and what might be best for learning.  All of these Ed Tech experts told us that the tech is just a tool.  The classroom is still all about learning and the ability of the teacher is the most important tool for student learning.

     I think that this is a message that I should remind myself of from time to time.  It can be easy to get caught up in the quest for "stuff" and forget our core mission--to educate.  Technology should be used as we use a car--to get us from Point A to Point B.  We can have a fancy car or an old clunker; if it gets us to our goal, then it is serving our purpose.

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